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Hollywood beats local films in France

Big-budget films take top of box office

U.S. movies ruled in Gaul over 2007, taking a 49.9% aud share vs. French films’ 36.5%.

Ironically, Gallic cultural patriotism gave Hollywood a leg-up. Disney-Pixar’s Paris-set toon “Ratatouille” topped the list, taking 7.7 million tickets for a $46.3 million gross. “Spider-Man 3” ($37.8 million), “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” ($36.9 million), “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” ($34.3 million) and “Shrek the Third” ($32.9 million) rounded out the top five.

France’s highest-grosser was “La Vie en rose” with $31.2 million, which came in at No. 6.

The robust U.S. showing wasn’t enough, however, to stop total ’07 tickets sold in France from dropping 5.6% to 178.1 million.

But the fall’s as much a reflection of the strength of 2006 as any weakness in 2007, when French films and cinemagoing at large had a middling but hardly soft year.

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Fired up by French fare, such as Luc Besson’s “Arthur and the Invisibles,” total tix sold in 2006 in France came in at 188.7 million, the second highest B.O. result in recent decades.